Mumbai, March 16 (IANS) MIM legislator Waris Pathan was suspended from the Maharashtra assembly on Wednesday when he refused to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” in the house.
The issue started when another All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen legislator was speaking on the debate on the governor’s address and a Shiv Sena member intervened to say that his party chief (Asaduddin Owaisi) had recently refused to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
Reacting to this, Pathan — who represents Byculla in south Mumbai — got up to say: “We will say ‘Jai Hind’ but not ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ as there was no compulsion on this nor did the Constitution say it.”
This outraged other members across all parties who demanded his suspension for what they termed an “insult” to the motherland, violation of parliamentary tradition and misuse of freedom of speech.
Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Ram Kadam also asked him to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, but Pathan refused.
Refusing to comply with Kadam’s request, Pathan referred to Bollywood writer Javed Akhtar’s speech in parliament and said: “If Javed Sahab wants to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, let him, we won’t. We will say ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ and ‘Jai Hind’.”
By commenting on the cap worn by Owaisi, Javed Akhtar has insulted Muslims of not only India but the whole world, he added.
Several members from the ruling BJP, Shiv Sena and opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party strongly criticised Pathan’s action and demanded his suspension.
Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse asked MIM legislators to apologise, but other members rejected the move, demanding that they should be suspended from the house and following noisy scenes, the house was adjourned for 10 minutes.
When it reassembled, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ranit Patil moved a proposal for suspending Pathan for the entire duration of the ongoing budget session which was approved unanimously, Speaker Haribhau Bagade announced.
Later, Pathan told media persons that “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” was a diktat from the RSS and he would not subscribe to it.
While under suspension, Pathan will not be permitted to attend the legislature proceedings nor be allowed near the Vidhan Bhavan complex.